Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are the latest mismatched duo to occupy a buddy movie in “Ride Along.” Here’s the premise: Ben (Kevin Hart) is a high school security guard who dreams of becoming a police officer. He’s engaged to Angela (Tika Sumpter), a sweet girl next door type who loves him even though he’d rather play video games with his friends than pay any attention to her. Angela’s brother--and therefore Ben’s future brother-in-law--James (Ice Cube) is a hard nose cop who doesn’t like Ben due to an incident at a barbecue where Ben’s carelessness injured James. See where this is going yet? Ben gets accepted into the police academy, and in order to show him what it’s like to be on the streets, James takes Ben out for the day on a ride along.
James’s goal is to make Ben quit his dream of being a cop by showing him how crazy things can get, which, he thinks, will in turn make Ben not want to marry his sister. James tells the dispatcher to purposely give him all of the craziest calls that come through. This leads to some funny comic moments where Hart is set free to riff and cut loose, and it’s here where the been there/done that premise is elevated to new heights. The situations that James forces Ben into are way over his head, and it’s entertaining to watch Kevin Hart muster all of his manic energy as he gets into a verbal tug of war with a pre-teen, or mistakes a female biker for a man. In fairness to Ben, she does have a mustache.
Animated birds went toe-to-toe with a Captain, and Box Office Mojo has the results. Coming in first was "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" with $41.4 million. Domestically the film has grossed over $159 million, but internationally has already crossed the $300 million mark. Flying into second was "Rio 2" with $39 million. Debuting in third was "Oculus" with $12 million, a pretty solid debut for a low-budget horror flick. "Draft Day" managed to take fourth with $9.75 million, and with its 'B+' Cinema Score it's likely to hit $30 million. "Divergent" managed to hang on to the top five with another $7.5 million, and a domestic take of about $124.5 million thus far.
According to Schmoes Know, a director has been found to helm the "Masters of the Universe" remake/reboot. Jeff Wadlow, who is also signed to direct the "X-Force" movie, will helm the reboot for Sony Pictures, and Terry Rossio ("The Lone Ranger") is writing the script. The original with Dolph Lundgren is so cheesy I had to take dairy tablets to keep from getting sick, and hopefully they do things a little different this time.
Is it worth $10? Yes
Low budget horror films usually carry a stigma of substandard quality. That's not the case with the creepy, inventive “Oculus.” It’s a slow burn to get started, but once we get to the meat of the story, the scare fest keeps you riveted.
Tim (Brenton Thwaits) gets released from a long stay at a mental asylum, when he meets up with his older sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan). Little does he know his beloved sister wants to recruit him to finish what he'd left in the past, and prove the innocence of him and a long line of others. Kaylie wants to prove that a possessed antique mirror is the cause of many deaths and her ultimate goal is to destroy the cursed object. However, the mirror and its inhabitants are not willing to go without a fight.
Is it worth $10? No
Here’s how you know “happily ever after” endings are bupkis: Because if a movie makes enough money, a sequel will discard the happiness in order to enable a tale of even greater adversity and triumph. Case in point: By the end of “Rio” (2011), blue macaws Blu and Jewel have thwarted the villain, fallen in love, and embarked on embracing a lifetime of happiness together. At the start of the strained and only occasionally amusing “Rio 2” things are still fine, but there wouldn’t be a movie if they stayed that way.
Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) have three kids and live an enjoyable life on the outskirts of Rio. They’re safe, happy and protected, which is important because they think they’re the last of their species. Still, Jewel is a little stir crazy with quiet domestic life, so when the opportunity arises to travel to the Amazon to meet more of their kind, she’s all in. As are friends Rafael (George Lopez), Pedro (Will i Am), Nico (Jamie Foxx) and even the kids. (Bulldog Luiz (Tracy Morgan) gets left behind, poor thing.) The only one not thrilled about the trip: Blu.
Is it worth $10? Yes
Director David Gordon Green's follow-up to 2013's "Prince Avalanche" (#1 in Andres Solar's Top Ten for that year) continues on the theme of manual labor in or near forests in rural Texas. Instead of naturalistic minimalism, though, "Joe" presents an unusually stark realism. More specifically, it's the film equivalent of rot-gut vodka from a plastic jug. It may not make your world any prettier, but it packs a hell of a wallop.
Ex-con Joe (Nicolas Cage, renewed and inspired) is the foreman on a work crew of 15 or so men who poison trees purposely because, as the crew captain called Junior (powerhouse amateur actor Brian Mays) says, "The lumber company ain't allowed to cut 'em down unless they dead."
Deadline learned work on "Karate Kid 2" will soon begin now that a director has been locked down. Sony Pictures has hired Breck Eisner ("The Crazies" remake) to helm the sequel, and Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith (unfortunately) will reprise their roles. The initial remake/reboot grossed over $343 million so it's no surprise they are making a follow-up. I have to say Jackie Chan had a very emotional scene in the first that I was REALLY impressed with, but Smith is a waste of space on film.According to ComicBookMovie, the writers of Ridley Scott's upcoming Biblical epic "Exodus," Adam Cooper and Bill Colage, will rewrite a highly anticipated video game adaptation. Ubisoft hired the duo to help adapt "Assassin's Creed" to the big screen with Michael Fassbender ("X-Men: Days of Future Past") set to produce and star in the film. This is pretty solid news considering the first game is set during the Third Crusade, and should be familiar territory in tone for the writing partners. This and "Splinter Cell" are huge priorities for Ubisoft who appear to be starting a new trend with video game adaptations turning into good movies.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is long. And I’m not just talking about its two hour and forty minute run time. I mean it feels long. It’s the middle chapter in a trilogy, meaning that its plot can be summed up as “They’re still on their way.” But what makes it long? Is it the insertion of characters, such as Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), who aren’t in J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel? No—the first film also added characters and the world of Middle Earth felt more populated and richer for it, and this film similarly benefits. I feel like I understand Thorin’s (Richard Armitage) need to reclaim the Dwarf homeland better in the film than I did while reading the novel. The added material increases the run time, for sure, but the content is so rich and fun—I especially enjoyed the political shenanigans of Stephen Fry as the Master of Laketown—that I am all for what was done to enhance the story.What made “The Desolation of Smaug” feel long is the mind numbing, repetitive action. How many orcs does director Peter Jackson have to hack, slash, impale, behead, shoot, stab, and bludgeon until enough is enough? I get it—orcs are bad, the Dwarfs and Elves are good. Orcs are aggressive brutes who charge ahead with no regard to safety or strategy, and as a result, are easily cut down by their smarter and more agile foes. I really only need a minute or two of this to get the point. There’s only so much mass orc slaughter that I can take before it starts to get really boring, particularly since the orcs are so outmatched that there is no real danger for the Dwarves or the Elves. Granted, Jackson tries to get inventive and there are some very tongue in cheek, somewhat comical moments during the action, but that doesn’t excuse how long the scenes ramble on. If he would have cut the action down to just those moments and made the scenes a few minutes shorter, I might not have checked out while watching them. While Jackson isn’t quite as bad as Michael Bay, both need to learn the lesson that too much action is just as dreadful as too little.
As expected a certain Comic Book flick dominated the weekend, and Box Office Mojo has the numbers for us. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" opened to $96.2 million, and has set a new record for the month of April (previously held by "Fast Five"). With an “A” Cinema Score it is expected to leave theaters with a cool $250 million domestically. In second was "Noah" with $17 million, and it has now earned $73 million domestically. Coming in third was "Divergent" with another $13 million, and it has now grossed $114 million. This means studios will continue to make these shit young adult novel adaptations. "God's Not Dead" settled for fourth with $7.7 million, and it has now grossed $32.5 million. Landing in fifth was "The Grand Budapest Hotel," which was hilarious, with $6.3 million, and a domestic gross of $33.4 million.Oh baby! Variety reports Disney and Marvel just announced “Captain America 3” will open May 6, 2016, which is especially notable given that’s also the planned release of Warner Bros/DC Comics “Batman Vs. Superman.” It’s as if Marvel is saying, “You want to have a big opening to kick off your “Justice League” franchise with these superheroes? Suck it. Suck it big. Eat some Captain America, bitch.”